Audio Review: Wilco – Schmilco

Posted 7 months ago in Music Reviews






Growing old gracefully isn’t easy, least of all if you’re a rock band. With each grain through the hourglass most rockers of a certain vintage either give into the desperate desire to appear current – usually with the success of an overactive auntie on social media – or retreat into a bubble of repeating themselves, trying to rediscover their early alchemy until they arrive at self-pastiche. Wilco though, as in so many other respects, are different. Few acts have ever transitioned into the realm of elder statesmen with such enviable lissomness, with Wilco producing some of the best work of their career a good 20 plus years into it.


Schmilco showcases a more low-key, folkier Wilco compared to what we found on last year’s punchy Star Wars. The laidback nature of the final product seems to be born of anything-goes philosophy in recording, an unassuming brilliance perfected through hours tinkering in their Chicago basecamp The Loft. This experimentation, in terms of both instrumentation (vibraphones!) and form, gives the record a richness and depth leagues beyond many of their greying contemporaries. The soothing, hushed quality of much of the record is complimented by the bittersweet nostalgia that characterises much of the lyrics, Super-8 images of carpeted vans, and a time before they knew “people could die just because”. Indispensible dad rock for the soul.

Words – Danny Wilson


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